A staff nurse could help Gospel Rescue Mission meet clients’ basic health needs and reduce ambulance calls, according to GRM officials.
GRM chief of operations Cara Schaus said the mission keeps a full first aid kit in the kitchen. There is also a bin with over-the-counter medications, bandages, and first aid supplies in the supply room. Multivitamins are also available for customers.
“If we had a nurse available, we could make it easier for our clients to access health care,” she said. “A lot of times they don’t have transportation, or they’re not from here and they don’t know where to start.”
Executive director Rich Schaus said a nurse could also help customers deal with diabetes or other health issues, he said.
“Having a nurse on site would help them understand the consequences of not adjusting their diet or exercise,” he said. “Not just medical treatment, but how do you take care of yourself and how would you react now that you have this diagnosis.”
A nurse could help reduce the number of ambulance calls to the mission, Schaus said, adding that the mission made calls to the Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service at least once a week.
“Historically it’s been a lot more,” Schaus said. “If EMS is called and they (the guest) want to go to the hospital, the EMS has no choice. They have to take them to the hospital even if they realize it’s not that important.”
According to GRM’s EMS-less case plan, in the last 12 months, 247 EMS calls made from the mission did not meet the transport criteria. The cost of EMS fuel and equipment was $228,800 during the same period, according to the plan.
Felisha Driskill, chief compliance officer and billing supervisor for the Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service, said ambulance charges vary depending on the level of service provided, unit personnel and miles traveled. .
Schaus said a nurse would visit the guest to determine immediate health needs and then determine if a trip to the hospital is necessary. The nurse could also decide if the guest can be taken by taxi or if an ambulance is needed, he said.
“We pay for a taxi to take them to the hospital rather than an ambulance, which would save that resource in the community,” Schaus said.
GRM is also looking for a small building for the nurse. Cara Schaus said there was no space in the main building or in the chapel for a nursing station.
“We’re about at the maximum of the space,” she said. “Wherever we can put a bunk bed, we put one. The idea is to have a little house in the garden.”
He also said he did not set a deadline to hire the nurse, as he wanted to secure funding first.
“It’s a concept, he said. I have probably 20 different game plans to do at different times. If the right backer came along, we would do it almost immediately.”
you can help
• If you would like to help Gospel Rescue Mission’s efforts to provide a nurse, call (918) 682-3489, visit the GRM website at https://www.grmmuskogee.org/ or email Executive Director Rich Schaus at [email protected]